For the past 12 years, Wendy Marston has dedicated her life to helping burn victims in Nepal. She started out by collecting funds on her own and assisting Keshab Das Joshi, the plastic surgeon at Bir Hospital's Burns Unit. Today, she is at the forefront of fund-raising and conducting awareness campaigns for Burns Violence Survivors (BVS) Nepal.
Born in Scotland, Marston came to Nepal in 1978 with her husband, an ex- Gurkha officer, and since then has dedicated her life to help burn survivors, many of whom are women and children. "Helping burn victims here has given me a chance to give back to Nepal," she says, eyes brimming with emotion.
After working closely with burn victims, Martson realised that this was one of the most neglected health problems in Nepal. She then began fund-raising to support nutrition, medical support, counseling and physiotherapy for survivors through partner hospitals. Marston also helped launch the Nutrition Support Program at Bir Hospital in 2008 which provides protein-rich supplementary diet to burn patients.
In the past few years many corporate houses have pledged to support BVS-Nepal. But Wendy feels that in addition to providing monetary assistance, corporate houses have a larger role to play: "Besides donations, everyone needs to be involved in raising awareness about burns."
A burning problem, BHRIKUTI RAI
Care for burn victims is available, but prevention would be better